Monday, August 14, 2017

The dream destination Ladakh turned into Nightmare for 17 travelers - Beware of the fraudulent FM Group!

The dream destination Ladakh turned into Nightmare for 17 travelers - Beware of the fraudulent FM Group
Ladakh, the barren beauty of Kashmir valley has become the dream destination for motorcycle tourers since the last decade. Apart from the promotion aided by the movie "3 Idiots", the challenging altitude of the plateau coupled with its rugged terrain beguiles travelers from all around the globe in the most enticing manner! My Ladakhi dream was conceived two months back when I had stumbled upon a Facebook advertisement- Delhi to Leh biking package for 12 Days/11 Nights at sub-thirty thousand bucks. From the very title of this article you can clearly make out its purpose. Yes, my dream motorcycle trip got cursed into a nightmare. It was not just me but 16 other fellow travel freaks from different corners of India, who had fallen for the easy trap laid out by the Noida based fraudulent FM Group (synonymous to FM Rooms). Our wounds of betrayal are still fresh and deep. It is impossible for me to present the case before you in a single paragraph. 

Although I've returned back to my hometown I'm still engulfed by mixed feelings of low self esteem, frustration and vengeance. Our common loss, be it financial or psychological, is irreversible. At this point, our common goal is to expose the ugly face of the FM Group and its associates, so that no other travel enthusiast gets cheated by those apparently lucrative offers advertised online by this travel fraud. I'll try to portray this tale of deception in its schematic form, truncating all dramas and side stories linked to it. Probably it'll cost you nine minutes.

The dream destination Ladakh turned into Nightmare for 17 travelers - Beware of the fraudulent FM Group
Memorize this Logo of FM Group. Whenever you spot this you know what to do next, right?
* With whom did I correspond to get into this Ladakh motorcycling trap?

-> Mostly with Mr. Arun Chaudhary AKA Mr. Prince, who had introduced himself as the well off proprietor of FM Group, and also an ex-Captain of Indian Army. As per his skillfully fabricated narrative, he had to retire from the army after getting an injury in the Kargil War. Ouch, that's where he grabbed my trust most conveniently! Our interaction was mostly through WhatsApp and sometimes through telephone. Mobile numbers as used by Mr. Arun Chaudhary to communicate with me till date are: +91-9821138317, +91-9821260271 and +91-8278290626. When he wasn't reachable I had communicated with Ms. Chandani Mishra (introduced herself as Mr. Arun's daughter) through Facebook Messenger. She had forwarded me to Mr Deepak Sharma (introduced himself as Mr. Arun's business partner) who had kept the conversation alive through WhatsApp and telephone. Mobile numbers as used by Mr. Deepak Sharma to communicate with me till date are: +91-9560690092 and +91-9411946829.

* What was the proposed Itinerary?

-> Day 01: Delhi-Manali, overnight in a Volvo bus.
     Day 02: Arrive Manali, Manali city tour on motorbike, overnight at hotel.
     Day 03: Manali-Rohtang Pass-Keylong/Jispa ride, overnight in camp/hotel.
     Day 04: Keylong/Jispa-Baralacha Pass-Sarchu ride, overnight in camp.
     Day 05: Sarchu-Leh ride, overnight at hotel/guest house.
     Day 06: Leh-Nubra ride, overnight stay in Nubra.
     Day 07: Nubra-Pangong Lake ride, stay overnight in Pangong.
     Day 08: Pangong Lake-Moriri Lake ride, overnight in camp.
     Day 09: Moriri Lake-Sarchu ride, overnight in camp.
     Day 10: Sarchu-Manali ride, end of motorbiking, overnight at hotel.
     Day 11: Depart Manali, overnight in a Volvo bus.
     Day 12: Morning arrival in Delhi to wind up the tour.

The dream destination Ladakh turned into Nightmare for 17 travelers - Beware of the fraudulent FM Group
Mr. Arun Chaudhary AKA Mr. Prince, who had introduced himself as the proprietor of FM Group.
* How much the Ladakh motorcycling package was supposed to cost?

-> 23,000 INR + 5% tax per person (triple sharing)
     28,000 INR + 5% tax per person (double sharing)
     Fixed departure date: 1st August, 2017.
     Inclusions: Breakfast, Dinner, Volvo bus tickets, all accommodations, Inner line permits and wildlife fees for restricted areas, Basic first-aid kit and medicines, Services of certified and experienced guides, Services of Wilderness Medicine Institute certified guides, Services of a Royal Enfield trained specialist mechanic, Royal Enfield 350 cc motorcycle with fuel and One backup jeep.

* When did I make the payment?

-> On first week of July through IMPS (Immediate Payment Service), in two installments. In the offer mail it was stated that the 50% of the package cost had to be paid in advance (at least 20 days before the trip) and the remaining 50% had to be settled one week prior to the commencement of the trip. But, in the middle of the first week of July Mr. Arun Chaudhary had rang me up and insisted on transferring the full package fee that day itself, on the pretext of growing client demand and possibility of hike in the price due to implementation of GST. Blame it on my poor judgment or the spell casted by enchanting Ladakh, I ended up obeying his command! Although my payment was instant, it took them almost 2 weeks to send me the e-invoice.

* Now, most of you would enjoy questioning my mental acuity for transferring a large sum of money to some stranger whom I had never met in person. Well, as I've been successfully conned now you have every right to prove you're way smarter than me. Still I would like to highlight few factors which abducted my thinking hat and pushed me to the victim zone:

-> Ladakh motorcycling package offered by FM Group was much cheaper than other tour operators. When Mr. Arun had told me that it was a corporate sponsored trip I was convinced with the feasibility.
-> Mr. Arun was frank, well-spoken and always ready to respond in all conversations I had with him before my Ladakh motorcycling trip. If I have to summarize, he had the perfect recipe of a con artist!
-> Like majority of Indians I too have a soft corner and immense respect for our army personnel. So, Arun's repetitive reference of army background and Kargil War made me believe that I was talking to a genuine guy.
-> Ah, it is pointless to deny that my wisdom was hibernating deep inside my arse throughout this dealing!

The dream destination Ladakh turned into Nightmare for 17 travelers - Beware of the fraudulent FM Group
 Ms. Chandani Mishra, the supposedly daughter of Mr. Arun Chaudhary.
* The point where the drama started- 5 days before the commencement of our Ladakh motorcycling trip, Mr. Arun informed us of an altered itinerary through WhatsApp! The reason provided by him was monsoon struck patches of Manali-Leh highway. We were too naive to see though his motives. We thought it was for our safety reasons only. Our revised itinerary was:

-> Day 01: Start from Delhi to Leh by flight, check in to Leh Hotel.
   Day 02: Start to Nubra on bike ride via Khardung La Top and reach to Paramount Camp Nubra, take rest, enjoy Turkish camel ride on Hunder dunes in the evening, night stay in camp.
    Day 03: Start for Turtuk, the last point of China border, return to Nubra camp for night stay.
    Day 04: Start from Nubra via Diskit Monastery and return back to Leh.
    Day 05: Ride to Pangong Lake, night stay in camp at Pangong.
    Day 06: Ride to Moriri Lake, night stay in camp at Moriri.
    Day 07: Ride to Tso Kar, night stay in camp.
    Day 08: Ride back to Leh, night stay in Leh.
    Day 09: Ride to Kargil via Magnetic Hill, night stay at Kargil.
    Day 10: Come back to Leh for night stay.
    Day 11: Local sight-seeing at Leh, evening flight to Delhi.

The dream destination Ladakh turned into Nightmare for 17 travelers - Beware of the fraudulent FM Group
My e-invoice from FM Group.
* How exactly did our Ladakh motorcycling trip turn out to be in reality?
Day 01: I reached New Delhi station by 11 AM and checked in Hotel Raj Villa at Paharganj area. By then it was informed that our flight was booked for next morning [TWIST ALERT]. Mr. Arun was supposed to join us by night. Well he didn't. There was no update from him either. Cool, we had to pay for our dinner [DISAPPOINTMENT ALERT]. Past midnight (at around 2 AM) we got a call from Arun. He requested for Rs 2,000 loan from each 17 of us which he promised to pay back once we landed Leh the following morning [TWIST ALERT]. Again, we were too polite (or, dumb) to turn down his request.

Day 02: Mr. Arun introduced us with his supposedly daughter Ms. Chandani and told us that she would escort us to Ladakh in his place [TWIST ALERT]. Early morning flight to Leh was uneventful, rather scenic. In Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport at Leh, we kept waiting for around 45 minutes for our pickup [DISAPPOINTMENT ALERT]. Ms. Chandani borrowed the mobile phone (BSNL postpaid) of my friend Yasin (which she kept repeating shamelessly throughout our trip) and kept calling to her contacts desperately for a pickup. We were finally taken to Hotel Mount Castle. It was a sudden change in altitude for us. Leh is situated well over 3,250 meters from sea level. Instead of acclimatising us that day Ms. Chandani informed us that we must get ready for our ride to Nubra via Khardung La Top immediately after breakfast [DISAPPOINTMENT ALERT]. After I insisted she had talked with the hotel management to open two rooms for us so that we could at least use washrooms! It took them about 4 hours to prepare "plain paratha with pickle" breakfast [DISAPPOINTMENT ALERT], and it was clearly evident that the hotel management was neither expecting our arrival nor happy with our visit. We left the hotel at around 1:30 PM. Oh wait, there was chaos in motorcycle allotment too. Chandani was vanished with excuse of some urgent work. I had to almost beg to the bike vendor for a proper motorbike. In the petrol pump we kept waiting for about one hour for Chandani to arrive. It had started raining by then. Increased altitude with explicit mismanagement had induced enough negativity in my mind to decide against riding to Nubra that day in rain. My idea seemed practical to few more mature heads in our group. Realizing the impending non-cooperation from our front, Chandani connected me to Arun over phone who was very apologetic in his tone and requested me to bear with them for the day. He assured that I won't be regretting for anything from the following day! I swallowed my anger and agreed half-heartedly. I wish I did otherwise. Since then, she made us ride in rain, failed to provide route briefing, zero medical support, not even adequate space in back up vehicle in situations where the rider fell sick and extreme unsympathetic approach whenever I pointed out her follies! I reached the camp side at Nubra by 4:30 AM in the following morning. There was no food and assistance waiting for us in that ghostly hour of the day [DISAPPOINTMENT ALERT].

Since then the revised itinerary got torn apart. Moments of twists and disappointments became infinite. We started getting used to the inefficiency and callousness of our tour operator. Despite non-existent leadership and meager services, we managed to wind up our ride to Nubra, Pangong, Moriri and Tso Kar to return back to Leh. It was the 9th day of our trip. We all had reached the zenith of frustration with our tour operator. We clearly informed her that we needed our money (Rs 2000/person borrowed by Arun) back. There had been multiple instances of failed commitments before. Moreover, a co-traveler had lent Rs 20,000 to Ms. Chandani for refueling our backup vehicle which wasn't returned either. We told her and also Arun over phone that we would start our ride for Kargil only after our borrowed amount is refunded. We kept waiting in the hotel (Mount Castle) till late afternoon when we got to know that she had escaped, abandoning us to our respective fates! 

The dream destination Ladakh turned into Nightmare for 17 travelers - Beware of the fraudulent FM Group
We 17 losers double-paid to free our ass from Leh.
The hotel owner at Leh drove us to the local police station for lodging complaint. After listening to our story, the police officer cleverly refused to accept any written complaint and politely shifted the blame on us for getting conned! The hotel and motorcycle vendors were not ready to let us go without getting their dues cleared and Leh police was on their side. We were already cheated by FM Group. What followed next was the extortion by bike-rental vendor Glacier Trek-n-Tour. Yes, we 17 losers double-paid to free our ass. That night itself we booked our Leh-Delhi flight for the following morning because few of us got psychologically traumatized by the entire chain of events. 

What we did after returning to Delhi is beyond the scope of this article. Do not be optimistic my friend, we couldn't avenge those culprits in FM Group. We couldn't trace them either. In India, every year thousands of crores of rupees are stolen through various scams. Sometimes big-shots involved in those get caught. But the lost money is almost never recovered! I'm quite conditioned to this Indian way of justice. So, I do not expect to get any compensation. My only aim is to warn travelers against the dark face of FM Group/FM Rooms and any name associated with it. I had to literally fight hard to keep this article compact. In that attempt, most details had to be trimmed off. So, you're free to contact me for any clarification or details.

BEWARE OF FM GROUP! BEWARE OF FM ROOMS! 

BEWARE OF ARUN AKA PRINCE CHAUDHARY! 

BEWARE OF CHANDANI MISHRA!

STAY AWAY FROM HOTEL MOUNT CASTLE AT LEH!

STAY AWAY FROM GLACIER TREK-N-TOUR AT LEH!

#CheatAlert #FraudAlert #FMgroup #FMrooms #Beware #TravelFraud

109 comments:

  1. Oh my God. Royally cheated. Look at the positives though. You could ride in Ladakh with seventeen other like minded guys. You saw many things. Try to Lodge a complaint in Noida also. You have all the details. So sorry to hear this.

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    1. Really appreciate your support Madhu!
      Yes, I'm looking at the bright side only. This semi-trip made me more curious about exploring Ladakh. I plan to revisit the mystic land next year and rediscover her pristine beauty... Keeping my fingers crossed.

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    2. hi ,, you must have emails... sent by them... every email is having ip address of the sender... it can be easily traced by the cyber cell... you may locally file complaint near area of police station...

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  2. You are lucky you escaped any physical or medical problems. Have you heard of Hapo? That's what happens if you do too much too soon at such high altitudes.It is extremely dangerous. Army makes all visitors stay still in bed for two days, only bathroom breaks allowed. Third day onward you can walk a little. We experienced this when we visited Leh several years ago. Thank your stars it wasn't any worse and you escaped with nothing worse than a lighter pocket.

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    1. I thing you're talking of HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema). Yes dear, I have already experienced it during my Muktinath trekking :-D It was horrible 24 hours when my heart rate was persistently above 140 bits/minute and no urination :-(

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  3. I am so so so sorry to red this!

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    1. Mridula, thanks for dropping by... If possible, please spread this so that other fools like us do not get cheated :-)

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  4. Anunoy......feeling sorry for u....but before booking have u reviewed FM group earlier from other customers....Some amount of cheating will be always there when it comes to travel groups...but i did not expect the sheer callousness of leh police.

    Nothing to say...just want to say ..may these people never cheats others like u...
    Your blogging will not go in vain....as many people would be aware of such fradulent people in india.

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    1. Look brother, there wasn't much reviews available online. But their website and FB page seemed authentic at that point.
      The sole intention of Leh police was to stay away from this problem, just like "Nirjhonjhate bangali protibeshi" :-D
      Yes, I understand, rather accept that it was my fault to trust an unknown (fraud FM group) travel group. I wrote this simply to aware not so smart travelers like me. Hope it helps them safeguard their travel interest :-)

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  5. Yeah that's true I was one of the victim we just save our life by God grace .

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    1. I wish you weren't anonymous while commenting :-)

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  6. Thankfully you reached back safe. Why don't you file complaint with consumer court.

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    1. Yes, something is being cooked for them :-)

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  7. O really! I just can't believe..N it happened with you. Don't get upset dear,after all you have learned a lot.
    Thank God you have come back safely and get ready for writing more..
    These type of fraud must be punished..

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    1. Although out of context, these frauds usually fail to retain these stolen money and die bankrupt one fine day :-P
      Thanks for your warm support!

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    2. I would definitely lodge a case in Noida and also with the consumer court. If you spare them, they are just going to cheat others. Take it as a mission and find them. They will come up with a new business name and a new website.

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    3. Shekhar, we're not letting them digest our hard earned money so easily. They'll have to pay for every bad seconds we lived at Leh :-)
      Thanks Bro for going through this lengthy post!

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  8. I'm speechless after going through that long piece of pain you had penned down. Not really sure whether you guys went on to lodge a complaint against these conmen in Delhi/Noida. You have the invoice, and probably the copy of the itinerary as well. Thankfully, your experience will help a lot of others like me, who aspire to take that your office a lifetime. These guys should be punished, more so because they bring a bad name to the honourable Indian Armed Forces

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    1. Don't worry bro, history says nobody till date could digest stolen wealth. So, it ultimately slips down like bloody diarrhea :-D
      Regarding police/legal proceedings I won't be writing here, because it's not just my personal case but an issue for 16 other travelers. We'll exchange these info in a personal chat. Thanks for your support :-)

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  9. Unfortunately, a lot of fly-by-night Ladakh biking tour organizers have mushroomed in last couple of years. For most of them, I've come across similar complaints of cheating and abandonment.

    Take them to task definitely. And I do hope that people learn by your experience. Sharing your FB post too.

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    1. Thanks Bro for your support, and of course for going through this lengthy post :-)

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  10. Sad to read this!

    This is precisely the reason why i never go with "tours and travels" services. We did the same itinerary, but managed everything by ourselves. Its so easy, i dont understand why these lazy asses need a tour and travel agent to do things for them! Just book the flight, land there, talk to people and get a rental bike, book only 1st day hotel in advance and leave rest to the itinerary. The itinerary is more flexible then!

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    1. You're right Vikas, we ended up paying the price for being lazy. An impactful eye-opener indeed :-)
      Thanks for your support!

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  11. Thank you for sharing. I am very sorry for what you have gone through. At least you have save thousands others with this info and have done a great service. Thanks again.

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    1. Brother, really appreciate your empathy and support :-)

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  12. This is story is better one of the rider from banglore had been in more trouble thn this actuly he was like 7 days in jail too his bike was sized and all of documents was detroyed by the army some his parents managed to get him bak frm thr but he was unlucky he didn't get his bike back

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    1. Oh No... that's horrendous! By any chance could you share the link to that mishap? :-(

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  13. Never go for the cheapest option. Good tour operators dont get their due to this competition and trait of ours to always go for cheapest options..

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    1. I admit my mistake and agree to what you told :-(

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  14. Horrible, you should spread the word regarding this company and it should be blacklisted. You can send us an article regarding your experience for publishing to our website topfivebuzz.com so it can reach to many others.

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  15. So Sorry to hear this. Thank you for sharing so that others do not suffer. I am sure if the police want they can be tracked from their phone nos and photographs.

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    1. Thanks for your support!
      Unfortunately, police wasn't so pro-active as we expected at that moment of crisis :-)

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  16. Oh My God... I am so so sad to read this. Actually speechless and do not really have any words to type.

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    1. Much appreciate your support, brother :-)

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  17. It's good that you posted names, pictures and their MO by way of introduction and emotional bonding attempts. Because I am pretty sure now they will change the name of their operators or tours but they probably will use tried and tested methods. Am sorry you had to go through this. Hope you do not get disillusioned in terms of further trips. And thank you for bringing this to light and posting it in all detail.

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    1. Yes Deepa, I couldn't help sharing this.
      Whatever I've blogged and published are all based on a lesson learnt in a very hard way. I wish that my fellow travelers learn from it too and get smarter in dealing with these frauds :-)

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  18. Should not happen to anyone. I hope somehow they get caught. This message should reach everyone.

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  19. Feel sorry for you but your story definitely save many from falling prey to such fraud people.
    Next time plan your own itinerary and go ahead.it s much more convenient.read blogs and go ahead
    i did road trip solo last year to ladakh
    And it was one of the best trip.jope you enjoy beautiful ladakh in coming years.

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    1. Thanks for reading such a lengthy story of nothing but agony!
      Yes, I intend to revisit beautiful Ladakh in coming days and wrap up the unfinished business :-))

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  20. This so sad... Glad to know you all are safe. Hope to see those losers behind the bars. .

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    1. Appreciate your support buddy!
      Hell is around the corner for such people ;-)

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  21. Shocking indeed! How skillfully they've conned 17 travellers! Thanks that you've revealed their identity and have written in details about their scheming. I'm glad that you didn't meet with any unwanted situation ( I mean accident) during the trip...the description of riding to Nubra in rain without getting acclimatized gave me a shiver...

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    1. At this point I would like to consider that we were too stupid to get in to their trap. Yes, there were life threatening situations which I avoided describing in this post to save it from getting too lengthy. One of my fellow riders suffered hypothermia, and it was Indian Army near Khardung La who had saved that poor fellow, not our fraud tour operator :-)

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  22. Exactly the reason I don't go with such groups for my trips. I am better off planning on my own!

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    1. I too wander on my own. But sometimes getting conned makes you more alert, probably for greater good :-P

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  23. .. so next year, FM Group and Mr. Arun Chaudhary will have new names!

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    1. Might be, might be not. But, we'll be getting smarter for sure to see through their cheap tricks, right? :-)

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  24. I completed Ladakh trip by fm group we are the first group total 23 members... I'm the first time to go out of the my state... Prince was good on that time he arranged all things to our batch.. chandini mishra also good with us . But we are completed trip several news are we heard by bike rental guys,backup van, hotel mount castle bills,and jispa camping bills they are not paid . One of the our group member friends going with fm group by referred our words and rating we gives the website . They 6 members are suffers same as you . So many members call for asking how was he trip complete with on small budgets.
    Before two weeks back they asking money for all our batch for going spiti valley .. we are refused it

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    1. I'm so glad that you didn't have such a bitter experience at least.
      How can I connect to you Sudaarshan? I need facts :-)

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  25. This is so saddening. The travel industry is reaching to new lows these days. A friend of mine experienced a horrific incident with Adventure Nation at Triund. Let's put in our best to send them behind the bars, because these people will not stop here. In case there is any kind of help needed, do let me know. I will be happy to help. Sharing your post everywhere!

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    1. Thanks for your support Harshita!
      My whole purpose of penning this tale of agony was to help my gullible fellow travelers get smarter in seeing through these travel frauds. Once we stop repeating our old mistakes, these parasites will eventually extinct from our travel industry :-)

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  26. Really sad to read this. File a complaint in Noida also!

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    1. Really appreciate your support Sumohit :-)

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  27. you were a big group of supposed grown up men. why did you need to book a package. you were saving money and you got duped. when in mountains, stop complaining about half an hour wait for pick up and no food at the camp at 4 am. that's being a city fool.
    you can't do such a trip under 23k.

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    1. Thanks for your insightful feedback Nitin :-D

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  28. Well why don't next trip you make self tailor made as most of do, create your own group and do it.. My few known did this way only. I will be more than happy to join this group, Noida is best place to lodge complaint for financial fraud.

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    1. Yes, that's my plan for coming year. Let me keep my fingers crossed and wits active this time :-P

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  29. When i read your post on FB you had me believed that you surely made some misjudgements and mistakes but after reading whole article i couldn't find anything that i wouldn't have done. Whenever we plan for something we don't expect it to go in wrong way that's why all those things you did seemed right at the moment but whenever something goes bad every little thing seems like a mistake.

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    1. Btw i think there is a chance the Group/operator was very inexperienced and got cold feet after facing so many difficulties decided to just ran away. Which was the worst decision, they should have owed to their mistakes and carry on even they suffered losses etc. But i guess it all comes down to ethics.

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    2. The thing is, when I had first shared it in social media, there were readers who were more keen on analyzing our low IQs for getting duped. So, this time I myself made the title in a way that others do not have to waste their calories in judging our smartness. After all, purpose of this post was to warn others, not to gain personal sympathy.
      Thanks for your support buddy :-)

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  30. Hi Anunoy
    So sorry to hear the story. Sorry to hear that the trip to the dream destination turned into a nightmare. I think had I been at your place, I might have believed Arun too but this whole story gives us the lesson on how important it is to check the background of the tour operator before sending them the money. For big tours, it's totally okay to meet them or their representative in person. I hope you filed a case against them and you would be able to at least sue them for a good time so they don't end up cheating more people.

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    1. Yes Nidhi, whether it is a gadget or my mobike's engine oil, I always do a thorough online research before trying it for the first time. This time probably things weren't meant to be on my side :-)
      Much appreciate your empathy buddy!

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  31. As someone who used to organize trekking and cycling tours across Himachal Pradesh,Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh I was saddened by your experience but was further saddened to see people tarring everyone with the same brush. I have been cheated by guests who agree to pay once their trip is organized and with all details in place start making excuses to back out of the contract. Yet one bad apple does not mean I discard the basket. Yes you must not let these folks get away. If you need help by way of information for any trip feel free to get in touch. No payment involved.

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    1. Thanks for your willingness to help Vimal. I'll remember you, but, could you give me your link?

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  32. Being a victim of this trip I feel angry and strange too that a girl could do such a fraud so easily and smartly and her father claims he is ex army servant, what ethics he has got from army is to cheat and fraud innocent people who blindly trusted them .

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    1. I wish you came out of anonymity! Yes, we were duped. In future we won't be so easily bowled out for sure. Keep faith on yourself and your passion for traveling :-)

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  33. I had traveled to Nubra from Leh in early June this year,
    I am impressed that you started your bike journey post noon without acclimatising and reached Nubr at 4 A.M.
    For us the day journey was little dle difficult though we had taken Srinagar - Leh route to get comfortably acclimatized
    I am extremely sorry for the experience you had from the trip organiser !!!

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    1. Hi Nisha, hope you had a memorable trip to Ladakh. I did not want to start at 3 PM, more so considering the weather. But, they were adamant. It was as if like a damn target which they had to fulfill in any way! Imagine my fellow riders riding wet near Khardung La post 6 PM and one of them finally getting hypothermia :-O

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  34. Sorry to hear that, Thank you so much for a writing a wonderful article and making us aware

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  35. We were a bunch of 16 , a mix of KTMs and REs. Got conned by local thieves posing as terrorists . They even had fully working AKs and handguns. We were forced to surrender more than 7 of our bikes to them . GoPros, phones and DSLRs were siezed and memory cards broken.
    Manali police didnt even bother to hear us!
    Glad that you all returned safely. It's easy to spot mistakes knowing what has happened . But at the spur of the happening, it's tough to react otherwise .

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    1. Oh Satan! I can only visualize your agony. I feel extremely sad imagining it. You have posted the comment anonymous. I wish I could connect with you online through any social platform :-(

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  36. My goodness...what a terrible situation you guys were stuck in. You should definitely file a FIR bro...don't let them go Scott free

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    1. Really appreciate your support brother. May justice and goodness prevail :-)

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  37. So sad to hear this. I hope these losers get caught. Thanks a lot for writing this and making fellow travel enthusiasts aware.

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  38. There are usually a lot of red flags that we sometime ignore in such cases and more can be said what could and would have been better.But I am really sorry to hear about this and hope you will be back to this amazing land soon. Keep clicking till then and do let us know if you manage to find and beat the hell out of these guys.

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    1. Yes Sandeep, I'll revisit Ladakh soon and till then I'll be clicking photos on the plain. If I get to catch them I know exactly what to do with these frauds :-D

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  39. Oh dear... very sad to hear about your experience with this so called motorcycle tour's operator. Let me know if I can be of any help.

    Khomen
    MD - Stoneheadbikes Pvt. Ltd.

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  40. It's 17 against one... You guys should not let the crook off the hook. He has to pay the price.

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    1. Hahahaa... I have little time to play this game, but yes, a huge centripetal force is acting on him whose source I would rather not mention here :-))

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  41. Bhai u ppl can file a case against him.. as he can b tracked thru many ways .. as i cant tel u d ways opnly may h he tto is following ths.. if u need any assistance ill can help u out FREE OF COST.. only tng i need is more and more ppl for filing cases in different courts frm diff parts of the country frm were we avail an arrest warrant frm court and publish in media.. reach me on nirmal_0782@yahoo.co.in..

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    Replies
    1. Thanks brother, I'll surely remember you in times of need. Really appreciate your help :-)

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  42. Really appreciate you writing this down. I am sure this will help us all staying away from such frauds.

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  43. My Goodness! What a travel horror story. I am a content writer and have written for several domestic and international travel websites in India. I realise that a little research on the traveller's part saves a lot of money and frustration later. I am avid traveller myself (though not for adventure purposes) and I prefer to design my own itineraries and do my own bookings. I have seen a lot of chaos in tour operators' offices. It is that or the very expensive Thomas Cook services that I trust. Since I belong to the middle of the 'middle-class' range, it's me and my planning. It's good to share such experiences with others, Anunoy. I hope that the culprits get nabbed soon.

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    1. Thanks for your insight Rruchi. I too perform a lot of pre-travel research and prefer traveling on my own (read: Solo), but, sometimes in your life you got to be duped to satisfy the universe :-P

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  44. This is very sad, but as you all 17 were together was good. First of all you should have checked the price of the tour package with atleast 3 to 4 different tour operators and then decide on recommendations basis. Of course it is not your fault, but in future keep this in mind.

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  45. This is a ridiculously delivered tour. And it's a shame they called themselves ex Military. I am Col Mike, and am very frustrated to know this.
    We must spread the message far and wide.

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  46. This is a ridiculously delivered tour. And it's a shame they called themselves ex Military. I am Col Mike, and am very frustrated to know this.
    We must spread the message far and wide.

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    Replies
    1. Yes Sir, whoever is impersonating an ex-military for personal interest should suffer worse consequences, much before he/she actually lands on to hell :-D

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  47. That was a worst situation. Is it not possible to catch hold of them again..?

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    1. Let them die in that hole where they're hiding. Trust me, the outside world is much better without them :-D

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  48. Firstly sorry to hear whatever happened with nd thanks for sharing ur experience.
    It becomes difficult to understand that with all the development in cyber world, we still rely on travel agencies to go around our own country. Hopefully next time do little research by surfing on web rather relyin on travel agents....

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  49. Thanks for sharing! A few friends and I are travelling to Leh in a couple of weeks. Your blog has made me realize how conscious we need to be when trusting people, specially when travelling. Life is full of lessons...Look at the trip as an expensive lesson..Not just for yourself but for all those who will (hopefully) learn what not to do by reading of your experiences. Stay safe....God Bless.

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    1. I think Ladakh itself is much safer if you travel with your own group and keep your thinking cap on. Enjoy the paradise. Wish you an enjoyable trip! Do share your experience after you return from Ladakh :-)

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  50. Oh goodness that is scary. Very Scary. Glad to know that all of you could come back with all your stuff safe and sound.

    Hope to see another blog from you, penning down your thoughts on 'How I would get Leh'ed now'.

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    1. Hahaa... I'll be soon blogging about that paradise. For now check out this: http://www.clickingphotos.com/2017/08/ladakhi-nightmare-intensifies-further.html :-))

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  51. You should Thank God you survived the first night getting to nubra without 2 to 3 days for acclimatisation
    Get hold of those who did this crime
    I dont think you can blame the bike rental company they were also connes by the FM group seems like

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    1. True bro. But then, we were not the ones who had contacted them or booked those motorcycles right? So, what they did was forgivable (purely from my personal view) but definitely unethical :-)

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  52. This tour operator must hv been doing all this for several years..... If he is not arrested he ll continue all this again....

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    1. Chill bro, let the sinners rot in hell :-D

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  53. Oh gosh! this is so so horrible. I am sorry to know such things happened. How scary and disappointing. Super upset to know you fell to this trap and I don;t think you should give up the fight. This group needs to get arrested.

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    1. Gradually came to know that this is his primary profession since quite sometime :-D

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